Friday, July 13, 2012

The McLaughlins of Scarborough

Robert McLaughlin Jr. was a farmer on the Beech Ridge Road in Scarborough, whose family lived on this property from about 1740-1914, and who were early founders of Cumberland County.  He was listed as Scarborough's member of the State House of Representatives in 1855.  He is referred to hereafter in this article as "Robert Jr."

Robert Jr. and his wife, Eleanor, had only two children, Sarah Jane and William.  The entire family living on the McLaughlin Homestead, according to available census records, was:

  • Robert McLaughlin, Jr. (1784-1871)
  • Eleanor McLaughlin (1792-1863), Robert's wife
  • Sarah Jane McLaughlin (1828-1848), Robert's daughter
  • William McLaughlin (1829-1880), Robert's son (referred to elsewhere in this document as "William 1829")
  • Catherine Mitchell-McLaughlin (1834-1908) (William's wife).  When William died, she moved in with her daughter, at 223 Payne Road South Portland, where she died.
  • Eliza Mitchell (1825-1895) (Catherine's sister) was a tailoress.  She died a spinster in Saco, having lived with the Carpenter, Lord (at the "Saco House"), Foss and Stevenson families as a boarder.
  • Martha McLaughlin (1791-??), Robert's sister, unwed
  • Mary McLaughlin (1797-???), Robert's sister, unwed
  • William McLaughlin (1789-1837) Robert's brother - buried at Dunstan Cemetery (referred to elsewhere in this document as "William 1789")
  • Agnes McLaughlin (1796-1884) Robert's sister in law - buried at Dunstan Cemetery
  • James McLaughlin (1819-??) William 1789's son 
  • Charles McLaughlin (1827-1886) William 1789's son - buried at Evergreen Cemetery.  Charles was a successful grocer, and started up Charles McLaughlin & Company grocers.

ABOUT 1880
This firm began business on Commercial Street, No. 163,
near the head of Union Wharf, removed to No. 84 (Thomas
Block ) in 1860, where they remained until December, 1879,
when they removed to the large and spacious store on Central
Street (head of Central Wharf).

William 1829 took over the farm from his father Robert.  He and his wife Catherine had four children:

  • Betsey E. McLaughlin (1855-1870)
  • Sarah E. McLaughlin (1859-1917) married in 1878 to real estate broker Wilbur Dresser (1848-1924), of the Scarborough Dressers (who had been in Scarborough since the Revolution, and have a public road named after them), and in particular, son to Josiah Dresser of Scarborough (1816-1868).  As an aside, Wilbur was executor of the Estate of my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Jane TemmSarah and Wilbur moved to Payne Road, in South Portland, after the McLaughlin homestead was no longer with the family (around 1890), and they took Sarah's widowed mother Catherine with them.  They had five children:  Ira, William, Perley, Leon and HelenLeon was the only one who had a child, a Richard W. Dresser born in 1925 who relocated to Boston.  In fact, none of Wilbur's siblings had descendants past one generation.  So, this Richard is the only descendant of Josiah Dresser of Scarborough (although Josiah's siblings had families).  In later years, after Sarah died of uterine cancer, Wilbur lived as a widower with his son Perley in Portland, before retiring to Scarborough, where he died.  This family is buried at Dunstan Cemetery in Scarborough.
  • Katie M. McLaughlin (1867-  ) worked as a stenographer.  She married Fred Phillips of Portland in 1899.  She quitclaimed her interest in the McLaughlin estate to her sister Sarah in 1901, but I cannot find any further information afterward regarding her.
  • Ada McLaughlin (1869-bef 1880)

To dig back into Robert Jr.'s roots, I will take from the e-book History of Cumberland County published 1880 by W. Woodford Clayton, where there is a brief history of the McLaughlins from Beech Ridge (going back to Ireland).  Here is the excerpt pertaining to their time in Scarborough (which contains appears to be at odds with some records I've found):
William and Robert McLaughlin, brothers, of the stock of the Luster McLaughlins, emigrated in the same vessel to this country, and settled in Scarborough, then virtually, so far as the Indians were concerned, a frontier town.  William was born in 1706; his wife, Sarah Jameson, was born in Plymouth, Mass., in 1715, and died in Scarborough, Jan. 21, 1818. [Robert was never married.] William and Robert cleared the farm on Beech Ridge, in Scarborough, now owned and occupied by his great-grandson, Robert McLaughlin. This family, like the other settlers of Scarborough, had their share of  trouble from the Indians, who, both in their own interest and in that of the French, made many incursions into the town. In those days the alarms of danger were frequent enough; the McLaughlins were obliged many a time to leave their home and seek security with the garrison on Scottow's Hill; and it was not until the peace of 1763 that they were finally safe from the depredations of the savages.
William McLaughlin was a town warden in 1777. He died in 1782. His son Robert, born in Scarborough, July 18, 1752, died May 8, 1823; his wife, Martha Johnson, was born Feb. 16, 1761, and died at Monmouth, Me., June 9, 1851. [Missing Robert Jr. 1784-1871] They had three sons and six daughters. Betsey, the eldest, married Edward Sargent, of Bangor; Sally and Nancy were never married ; Catharine married Henry Vanschaick Cumston, of Scarborough, afterwards of Monmouth; William; James; Dionysia married Wiggins Hill, of Bangor; Ruth married Joseph Hasty, of Standish ; Charles was never married ; James went to Bangor, operated in real estate, became quite wealthy, and died there Oct. 14, 1872, at the age of eighty-two ; his wife was Almira Tilton, of Scarborough. Charles, the youngest of the family, settled in Louisiana and became a large planter ; he died Dec. 19, 1835, in his thirty-eighth year. William took to farming like his ancestors, and was known as a man of good judgment, of strict integrity, and correct habits. He married Agnes Hasty (whose mother, Rachel Deane, was a niece of Parson Deane), by whom he had three sons, James, Robert, and Charles; he died at Scarborough, April 11, 1837.  Of these sons, Robert resides upon the old homestead, which has thus been in his family for four successive generations, about a hundred and thirty years.
Now, the Robert underlined above is cousin to Robert Jr. of this article.  He kept the McLaughlin Farm going until his death in 1912.  Robert Jr. of this article has been omitted from this 1880 publication entirely.  I've added him in above in brackets.

According to a series of typewritten sheets of research found at the Scarborough Historical Society written by a member of the Tilton family (the "Tilton Papers"):
William [the immigrant] and his wife Sarah suffered very much from the fear of the Indians, though never attacked by them.  They often had to leave their house and go to the garrison on Scottow's Hill.  Mrs. McLaughlin feared very much at one time that her young child might by its cries betray her to the Indians, the child having died she then thought its death was a punishment for her wicked fears.  Axes and all farming tools had to be carried into the house at night to secure them from the Indians.  A sister of Mrs. McLaughlin married John Porterfield who was saved by her dog from being taken by the Indians when she went in the spring for water.
Now also according to the Tilton Papers, a brother of Robert Jr. was one James McLaughlin of Bangor, who, after retiring from his law firm, Hill & McLaughlin, became a devoted gardener and founder of the McLaughlin Plum in the 1840s.  James and his horticultural creation are also mentioned in The Fruits of America, published 1856.

According to p. 187 of the Jamesons in America, published 1901, a Robert McLaughlin of Scarborough married Hannah McKenney, born 1739, daughter to Margaret Jameson.  Given the age, this Robert MAY have been a son to the Robert who was brother to William who emigrated from Northern Ireland with him.  I've bracketed the notion above that Robert never married.  I don't think there were any other Robert McLaughlins of marrying age in Scarborough in the 1750s.  I feel quite confident this is a son to this Robert.

I've compiled a family tree, using available records, with the assumption that my theories are correct (click to enlarge).

As for the McLaughlin property...

In 1902, the Sarah McLaughlin-Dresser sold the Beech Ridge Road property to Thomas Lessard, with a deed restriction for a burial ground to remain on the property, reading as follows:

Reserving, however, the Burying Ground on said farm with sufficient room to build and maintain suitable fence around the same with right to enter at any and all times to repair fence or for any other purpose.

The McLaughlin Property went through several hands afterwards:  Benjamin Shaw, Harriette Harmon, Bridget Sheehy, and finally in 1935 to Bill Temm, Sr. of the Temm family, which family had once owned the farmland across Beech Ridge Road back in 1864.  The property was divided up for Bill's heirs, but in 1998 the land that carried the deed restriction for the cemetery described it as such:

Reserving, however, to the Scarborough Historical Society, as well as the heirs of those buried therein, the right to access the old burial ground on the above-described property, said burial ground and right of access being more fully described in a deed recorded in the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds in Book 727, Page 169.

This small graveyard for the McLaughlins who lived and thrived there is maintained with much care by the current property owners, the heirs of Bill Temm, Sr.

Only seven members of this family have gravestones here (the names are in bold above), but as you can tell from the photos below, there is quite a bit of space where more unmarked graves must lie, and one would assume they'd be the remainder of the McLaughlins who lived on Robert's homestead.

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